I've listened to Beauty Will Save the World (the album by The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus), several times now, and I like it a great deal. It may not be everyone's cup of tea. It's certainly not a pop music album in any sense. The description I quoted from Wikipedia a couple of weeks ago is pretty good. Here it is:
The group's music is a blend of folk and sacred music, industrial and ambient sounds, and samples that has drawn comparisons to neofolk artists like Current 93 and Death in June, as well as artists including Dead Can Dance, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Henryk Górecki, and Arvo Pärt.
But if you don't know those artists the description won't help much. I don't know about their other albums, but from what I've heard of Death In June, which is not a whole lot, that comparison doesn't much fit with this one. Most of it is not songs, exactly, but assemblages of music and other sounds, as the Wikipedia entry says. It begins with a recitation, in Spanish, of St John of the Cross's "Dark Night" ("noche oscura"), which fades into wordless singing. Rather than continue trying to describe it, I can suggest that you listen to this track, which begins with a setting of what I think is a translation of a (the?) Compline liturgy; I've heard it before but I can't think where. I could do without that sort of blubby bass sound, but apart from that I think this is gorgeous.
The album seems to be out of print in solid physical formats. Amazon says "temporarily out of stock" but the group's Bandcamp page says "Sold out", which sounds rather final. But you can buy it in MP3 form at Bandcamp, which I did, along with two other albums, The Gift of Tears and Mirror. I haven't listened to either of them yet. I wonder if the CD or LP versions would have any sort of what we used to call liner notes. If they do I'd be tempted to buy it again just to get that, because I have some questions about what I'm hearing. But then the group seems to like remaining mysterious and letting the work speak for itself.
The cover picture is of Simone Weil
which is an interesting coincidence, because I've been thinking for some weeks now that I'd like to read her again. I have a Simone Weil Reader which I bought back in 1980 or so and read a fair amount of at the time, but can't recall even so much as opening it in the years since. As you probably know, she was a somewhat eccentric (it's hard to avoid the word) religious and political thinker, born Jewish, later a sort of Christian, having what she said was a direct encounter with Christ, but refusing baptism, believing (on what grounds I don't remember) that she was somehow called to remain outside.
I picked up the Reader one day last week and browsed in it a little. Much of it is taken up with her social and political thought, and at a glance I found that rather turgid. Then I flipped over toward the back and found things like this:
If God had not been humiliated, in the person of Christ, he would be inferior to us.
All that I conceive of as true is less true than these things of which I cannot conceive the truth, but which I love. That is why St. John of the Cross calls faith a night. With those who have received a Christian education, the lower parts of they soul become attached to these mysteries when they have no right at all to do so. That is why such people need a purification of which St. John of the Cross describes the stages. Atheism and incredulity constitute an equivalent of such a purification.
That's what I feel a need to hear right now--the hard stuff, uncompromising and apophatic. I think she is frequently mistaken, but in ways that are illuminating.
You may have seen a news item (here's a link to one) about the Episcopal diocese of Washington DC adopting a resolution which calls on the diocese to
…eliminate, when possible, all gendered references to God and to replace them with gender neutral language, and if necessary, to alternate gendered titles when referring to God.
I don't understand why this was considered newsworthy, as Episcopalians have been talking this way for at least forty years now. I mention it only because it got me to thinking about exactly why this sort of thing is wrong. The first response of more or less orthodox Christians, including me, is "But Scripture says...", "The Church says...", "The creeds say..." And that's all true. But there's a more fundamental problem with the sort of liberal or modernist or progressive theology that calls for changes like this one. It's the assumption that we have a right to make such changes if and when we feel the need. This rests on a misunderstanding of the foundations.
Obviously there are changes that can and should be and have been made over the centuries, and obviously there will always be a vast amount of space for our understanding to grow. But the most fundamental fact about Christianity is that it begins with a revelation. Its central doctrines are not the result of particularly gifted people thinking about God and coming up with interesting and useful answers, or approaches to answers. They were given and revealed to us, not created by us, or even discovered by questing human minds. ("Discovered" until maybe the late 18th century or so meant more or less what we mean by "uncovered," which is sometimes amusing--you get things like "he discovered the bed.") Accepting that they are a revelation is an essential part of accepting that they are true.
I think maybe that's the fundamental mistake of modernist theology. It's not that its ideas are necessarily always wrong, but that it doesn't understand or accept the conditions under which specifically Christian theology operates. There is plenty of room around the peripheries for argument as to what is part of the revelation and what is not, but the references to God as Father and Son are too clear and frequent to be considered separable and optional.
Note the second sentence.